Is a light tunnel suitable for my roof construction?

If you are renovating a property or building from scratch you may need to bring more daylight into a specific area and so a light tunnel, sometimes referred to as a sky tunnel could be a good solution. In most situations they can be installed into any roof structure with the exception of thatched roofs. Installing a light tunnel into the external roof surface is similar installing roof windows or Velux windows, so is not a major task for either a professional or a competent homeowner who is used to some simple construction work.

The way that a light tunnel works is by directing sunlight down a reflective tunnel into an area which would previously only have been lit with normal lighting. As any lighting that is provided by a light tunnel is free and does not require any energy to run it is truly environmentally friendly and therefore popular with anyone concerned with reducing their carbon footprint.

Light tunnels offer a great solution to the problem of getting natural light into internal window-less rooms in properties, for example in an added bathroom or utility room. This solves the problem of having to design your renovations keeping in mind that there needs to be a window in the room.

Reduce your carbon footprint and install a green roof

Many people are talking about the issue of climate change and how we as individuals can do something to reduce our carbon footprint in some way. One of the quite innovative ways that people are considering is installing a green roof. The term is used to describe a roof that is seeded, and which grows some variety of grass on its surface and sometimes meadow flowers too. A green roof is more easily installed on new builds in conservation areas but can be introduced on any suitable roof area. They can more commonly be seen on flat roofs, but it is possible to have a seeded green roof on one with a low pitch.

One of the first things to check before you embark on this project is to establish whether there are any council permissions that need to be sought beforehand. Due to the weight of the soil layer on an existing roof structure it could be that the property will need to be checked structurally by a building surveyor before work can proceed.

As long as the relevant authorities are happy for you to install the green roof the next decision will be who to employ to conduct the work. Most people get three quotes which is common practice and ask for references from past clients. Viewing other projects that the company have completed is also advisable.

Maintenance of a thatched roof

If you are fortunate enough to own a property with a thatched roof, the care, maintenance and repair of this type of roof will determine the durability of it. As the cost of replacing a thatched roof is extremely high, preventive care and maintenance is of great importance. If the roof is damaged by birds or by the elements immediate action can reduce the costs involved. For instance, a crack in the masonry of the ridge is easily fixed. However, if you fail to act quickly then water can penetrate the roof and can cause further damage.

Algae, moss and fungi are considered to be the main cause of damage on thatched roofs, so the control of algae and moss needs to be part of the ongoing maintenance.

It is recommended that a thatched roof is cleaned and re-tightened once a year. This ongoing maintenance is essential to the durability of the thatch. A roof that is covered with leaves, moss and algae needs more time to dry than a clean roof. The wet, damp conditions of an uncleaned roof does in turn promote the growth of fungi which affects the thatching reed.

A thatched roof ideally should be cleaned by hand. With the help of different types of rake, the roof can be cleared of leaves and moss during a dry spell as the moss is easier to remove in these conditions.

Choosing the best roof for your conservatory

Building a conservatory onto a house is one of the most popular ways of increasing the living space in a property and if built well it should last for many years. One of the decisions that will need to be made when installing a conservatory is the type of roof to have. Many people do not realise this and simple accept the recommendations of the builder without considering the options.

The colour of the polycarbonate or glass roof can make a huge difference to the temperature inside the conservatory so especially if the conservatory faces south choosing a tinted roof instead of a clear one will help to keep the temperature down. The downside to having a tinted roof is that the conservatory will not seem as light and so this does put some people off.

Cleaning a conservatory roof is a difficult task as the roof will not usually withstand the weight of a person on the roof surface but there is now an ideal solution to this problem and that is self-cleaning glass. The glass is treated so that it repels dirt, and it is washed away when it rains or can simply be hosed off. This means that the job of keeping the roof clean is no longer an issue for the homeowner and although more expensive is worthwhile.

Avoid costly repairs by taking care of your roof

Many homeowners do not give much thought to the roof on their property although it could be said that along with the foundations the roof is probably the most important parts of the construction. Having a roof that allows rainwater to leak into the house is a nightmare that should be avoided at all costs but with some regular maintenance most roofs will last for many years.

Most roofs over time will become covered in moss and removing this is essential to keeping the roof in good repair. Jet washing the roof can remove most if not all of the moss and if the job is too big to tackle there are professional companies that will do the job for you.

Replacing any broken or missing tiles on the roof is another vitally important way to prevent internal damage caused by water ingress. After any particularly windy days it is a good idea to check the roof to make sure no tiles have blown off or slipped out of place so that repairs can be done as soon as possible. The ridge tiles and verges of the roof are usually secured with cement which can deteriorate over time so regular inspection should be carried out to ensure they are still in good repair.